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KL Rahul may not enjoy an ‘ice bath’ after ‘tough’ wickets, but here’s how it helps

Also known as cryotherapy, an ice bath is basically a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures

KL RahulKL Rahul takes ice baths after 'tough' matches (Source: Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav’s half-centuries helped India win the low-scoring match against South Africa in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. After the match, Rahul — who scored 51* — called it the “toughest pitch” he has ever batted on during a T20 match. “We have played in some difficult conditions like this but I haven’t got runs. So this was hard work,” he said.

He went on to add that his innings would be followed by a “lengthy ice bath“. “Ice baths and wickets like these aren’t things we take pleasure in, however, we have now to do it typically,” Rahul said, on being asked how batters deal with such wickets.

But what are ice baths, and how do they help? 

Also known as cryotherapy, an ice bath is basically a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  According to a study mentioned in the National Library of Medicine, it has rejuvenating benefits, among:

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-After an intense workout, the extreme cold can soothe sore and aching muscles.

-It is believed to aid sleep by lessening physical fatigue.

-It is believed to limit the inflammatory response due to the decreased temperature, and help in faster recovery.


Elucidating, Dr Ashish Singhal, consultant orthopaedic and knee replacement, Paras Hospital, Udaipur said that cold water constricts the blood vessels, slowing blood flow and reducing swelling and soreness in your muscles, especially after a long run or a hard-fought game.

“The ice bath is known to help reduce muscle pain by approximately 20 per cent. The most obvious benefit of ice baths is that they simply make the body feel good. After a strenuous workout, cold immersion can provide relief to sore, burning muscles. Ice baths alter the flow of blood and other bodily fluids which, in turn, reduce inflammation and speed up recovery. Your blood vessels contract when you sit in cold water; they dilate when you get out (or open back up),” said Dr Singhal.

The expert added that post-workout, the procedure aids in the removal of metabolic waste, too. “Ice baths manually constrict and open vessels, allowing slow lymph node fluids to circulate throughout the body. In order to help your body heal, increased blood flow also floods your cells with nutrients and oxygen,” mentioned Dr Singhal.


Due to this, it helps the person face physical and mental stress in a better manner while also speeding the recovery process and ensuring quality sleep. These factors help an individual to be physically and mentally prepared for the next workout, mentioned Dr Sanjith Saseedharan, Consultant & Head Critical Care, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim-A Fortis Associate.

However, for people with high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, ice baths may be “extremely risky as they might cause a cardiac arrest or stroke, led by the decreased blood flow due to the extreme cold temperature,” the study mentioned.

Agreed Dr Saseedharan and said, “It is essential to remember that blood vessels contract and reduce the diameter, called vasoconstriction, which may harm cardiac patients and patients with vessel blockages anywhere in the body. These patients should avoid ice baths, although research in this field is still ongoing to convincingly price the benefits of the process.”

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First published on: 29-09-2022 at 05:30:38 pm
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